Morning Ed: Society {2016.06.20.M}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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186 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Gawker: The things you are and are not allowed to get jealous about and mock are interesting. Making fun of the NY Times style section is considered fair game in a way that going after the wealthy in general in some circles isn’t because that means your just a lazy leftist that isn’t willing to work hard. You can make fun of some of their spending habits though, but only some of them. If there was a magazine or newspaper article section that was mocked for the lifestyle choices of right-leaning wealthy people like yachts or hunting parties than there would be hell to pay in some quarters.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I don’t follow. Are you saying that making fun of rich Democrats is more socially acceptable than making fun of rich Republicans?

      Also, are yachts actually a right-wing thing, or is this just a product of the (outdated, I believe) stereotype that most extremely wealthy people are Republicans?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The Powers that Be never earned a dime in their lives through their own efforts. They are conservative, because if they lose a dime, they’re never getting it back.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Yes, actually I am in a way or rather that certain consumptive habits are more mocked than others. The NY Times style section and things like it tend to be mocked by a fairly broad ideological range. The tastes of wealthy republicans are defended on the right at least.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

          And the tastes of wealthy Democrats are defended on the left. I think the extent to which there is an imbalance is not because of ideological issues but because of novelty. We’ve been rolling our eyes at yachts with helicopter landing pads for decades now. It gets old. But liberal pursuits tend to be more novel/trendy/new.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It seems really easy to make fun of a certain kind of coffee shop smugness. I mean, there is this weird kinda — I dunno — fake “oh look at me so sophisticated this might as well be a sidewalk in Paris” or whatever attitude. Or something. It’s that “struggling writer” guy, who is in a sense performing that role. Like, who knows if he’ll write a single damn word worth reading, but he sure has all the visible trappings down.

      Back in my martial arts days, we used to talk about the folks who were “there for the tee shirt.” Like, they wanted to train just enough to wear a badass tee shirt emblazoned with the name of the badass martial art they do. That way everyone can see.

      Fine. Most guys I knew who served in special forces or whatever were quiet and sort of humble. (Well, maybe not humble exactly. But there was this thing.)

      Who do you admire more? The outwardly humble guy who can? Or the guy who cannot, but goes around acting like he can?

      During my first couple years of martial arts training, I “wore the tee shirt.” Heh. No really, I did. As the years went by, I stopped wearing it.

      Smugness is a thing. Phoniness is a thing. These are real social phenomena. It’s like, sure, some of this is in the eye of the beholder, but some ain’t.

      The line between phony and real, between superficial and genuine, between pretension and achievement — these are not bright lines. I cannot give you formula that will let you distinguish each in every case. But all the same, there is a difference.

      So do we laugh across the divide? Are we snide?

      I dunno. Sometimes pretentious people are unintentionally hilarious. I would not want to mock such a person their face, cuz I don’t wanna be mean to them randomly. But still.

      I recall a “wine tasting party” held by a friend. Like, we were all normal boring “SWPL’s” doing a standard “SWPL” thing. It was silly and fun.

      There was this one dopey guy there, who decided to play the big “wine expert” guy, for all of us to see. I dunno. It was kinda obvious to me he was full of shit.

      I mean, I’m sure he knew more about wine than I did. But that’s a low bar.

      It was like, this is not really a wine tasting. It’s just a bunch of semi-urban hipster dorks buying mid-priced wines at Whole Foods and using that as an excuse to socialize. The point is, if you are “into wine,” it isn’t like you shouldn’t talk. If you like this wine, but not that, sure, go ahead and say so. But this guy was sucking up the oxygen with his not-actually-impressive “opinions.” He was performing.

      Whatever. We laughed at him behind his back.

      I wouldn’t laugh at him to his face. I dunno. That would be needlessly cruel.

      I used to “wear the tee shirt” for my martial arts school. Then I stopped. Maybe this guy will figure shit out. Who knows. Maybe he will become a wine tasting expert of international renown.

      I bet if he does, and if he is ever again at a “SWPL” party like that, he will enjoy the mediocre wines for what they are, make a few polite comments, and otherwise chat about other stuff.


      I’ve been around wealthy people. I recall this one guy. He literally refused to sign anything unless he used a gold pen. He bragged about it.

      Remember the “business card” scene from American Psycho? This guy really behaved that way.

      We laughed at him behind his back.

      I knew some “old money” people — or at least “older-than-new-money.” Something in-between. Whatever. They were never pretentious. I seldom felt any reason to laugh them, unless they were telling a funny joke.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to veronica d says:


        I see what you are saying but on the other hand I am sort of amazed about how much energy goes into hate-reading the NY Times Style Section and that it becomes a sort of cottage industry for places like Gawker and some other lefty blogs.

        Are Styles Sections articles often silly? Yes but the New York Times operates in a capitalist society and they need to do things that pay the bills. I find it very strange when my blogs will have one post praising a must read piece of Investigative journalism from the front section of the Times and then screaming with hate at something from the Styles Section or the fancy Real Estate section*. The Styles Section fluff pays for the in-depth investigative reporting and I make my piece about this by reading the front section and ignoring the Styles section like I ignore the sports section.

        No one is required to read the Styles section yet it seems like people do so with the intent to be outraged and snark about it on the Net. I guess this just seems like a waste of time especially because Gawker’s prime demographic is not necessarily on the down and outs but are often young or youngish college educated professionals who might not be making much now but will advance to better paid jobs and positions. They are the type to read the Styles section over brunch on Sunday to see how Gawker snarks on Monday.

        *The one interesting take is whether there is a journalistic ethics requirement to disclose whether someone is a wealthy trust-fund kid or not. This usually comes up with artist’s profiles. Trip Cullman is a very good off-Broadway theatre director. Two years ago, the Times did a story on his very cool NoHo apartment. There is no way that Cullman’s income as a theatre director covers the costs of his apartment or stuff. The Times very gingerly found ways to not mention that Cullman is the heir to a major Tobacco fortune.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          @saul-degraw — Yeah. Personally I cannot imagine dedicating one’s time to “hate reading” anything. Mostly if I hate stuff, I avoid it.

          But on the other hand, there is a market for “pre-digested” hate reading. Like, I won’t deny, I love We Hunted the Mammoth. I mean, it’s intellectual junk food. And sometimes I wonder if Futrelle shouldn’t find a better way to use his time. But still…

          I spend a fair part of most days doing advanced mathematics. I can afford some popcorn for my brain. And laughing at idiots — it can be fun as a diversion.

          I mean, so long as you keep some perspective. This is junk food. You can’t live on it.

          Anyhow, smug hipsters are just — wow. Like, holy fucking space puppies some of those folks are pretentious as — well actually they are literally the most pretentious thing and thus set the basis of comparison. They are as pretentious as themselves, the superlative of pretentious. Like good grief.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

        “There was this one dopey guy there, who decided to play the big “wine expert” guy, for all of us to see. I dunno. It was kinda obvious to me he was full of shit.”

        Imagine, for a second, that he wasn’t “playing”. Imagine that he was desperately lonely, that he had the sense everyone was smirking at him behind his back and sniggering at the poor incel manchild who’d somehow wandered into the cool kids’ party. (A sense that was justified, from what you tell us.) Imagine that, maybe, he was rolling out the “I know about wine” act because if they’re pretending to listen that’s better than being ignored, even if they’re mentally composing their blog post about what a clod you are.”

        Imagine if someone had just laid into him, just let him know that it wasn’t actually working. If someone had just kicked him out instead of watching him twist like a worm on a hook, using him as the social DUFF.

        “We laughed at him behind his back. I wouldn’t laugh at him to his face. I dunno. That would be needlessly cruel.”

        mmm-hmm, he knew damn well you were laughing at him.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

          This party was maybe ten years ago, so I don’t have precise memories. But in any case, he was there with a date. I didn’t really know anything about them, whether it was a first date, whether they were long married, or something in-between. I didn’t get a good read on her.

          I mean, he seemed deeply insecure. She was just … kinda there.

          Anyway, “incel manchild” was a phrase you used, not me. That came from your mind, not mine. Nor did I describe anyone “smirking” in his presence. Again, you’ve spun up a picture in your mind.

          We can invent all kinds of scenarios. When you stare at clouds and see a duck, it is not actually a duck. It is a cloud. The duck came from your mind. Regarding the “cool kids,” those are your insecurities.

          Anyway, “cool” is often just another way to say “socially affable.” It means having a bit of charm and grace. It also means showing consideration to those around you.

          People like people who are likable. It’s not a mystery.

          Regarding “laying into him,” maybe. I didn’t really know him. I knew the host of the party. I knew a couple other people there. I would think it is the job of his friends (or his date or whoever) to talk to him, not me, the random stranger.

          In any case, he was loud and tedious — posing, posturing, and all puffed up. So it goes.


          The party was in a house. There were various rooms. Mostly I made an effort to be in a room where loud-guy was not. (I ended up hanging in the front room, sitting on the couch with a couple old-school lesbians and looking through a coffee table book of fetish photography. I found that to be quite pleasant, much better than listening to a blowhard blow.)


          Regarding “laughing at him behind his back,” to be clear, this happened after the party, during the drive home. It was like, “That ‘wine expert guy’! OMG!” My partner agreed. We laughed.

          I have no idea if he picked up on anything like that during the party. He did not seem to. So far as I could tell, he remained loud and entirely immune to embarrassment the entire time.

          That said, sure, it would be good if at some point someone explained to him how that behavior looks to others, that masking your insecurity doesn’t really work. I dunno. We’ve all been there. Social stuff is hard.

          The best way to deal with insecurity, I’ve found, is through achievement. I hope he achieves stuff. I hope we all do. I want humanity to thrive.

          I’m still gonna roll my eyes at boorish jerks.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

            “Anyway, “incel manchild” was a phrase you used, not me. That came from your mind, not mine. Nor did I describe anyone “smirking” in his presence. Again, you’ve spun up a picture in your mind.”

            I recognize that it is very much not the picture that you want to see.

            There’s more to bullying than “why do you keep hitting yourself”.

            Sometimes it’s convincing someone that if they hit themselves they can hang out with you.Report

            • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to DensityDuck says:

              I don’t want to know what incel means, do I?Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Fortytwo says:

                involuntary celibate. men who are so unappealing to potential sex partners that they cannot find one.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Francis says:

                Please don’t mock actual incels. It is very hard to be lonely.

                The people I’m talking about are loud, boorish jerks, or pretentious ninnies, or pushy jackasses who want all the attention. They usually aren’t incels. Even if they were, that’s not my problem with them.

                Let us not hit the wrong targets. Leave the incels be. They have it hard enough.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to veronica d says:

                Why mock anyone at all? The people who annoy you are the product of their genes and environment, just like the lonely ones or you and me. Why treat compassion and understanding as scarce resources that need to be carefully meted out to the deserving?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KenB says:

                Mockery is a very important part of social control. It’s the stick.

                (Said to attempt to answer “why”. Not to, like, signal that I think that sticks are good.)Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to KenB says:

                Cuz I don’t have boundless empathy. I doubt anyone does. Plus, phony people are irritating. They make choices, play roles, which in a lot of ways come at the expense of others.

                Which is to say, social stuff is complicated. Fine. But being affable is part of being considerate. It is reasonable to judge people for their behavior.

                Anyway, as I said, I try not to be cruel, but if someone is boorish or pretentious, we might laugh about them later.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to KenB says:

                Plus, an occasional eye roll is just part of life. Some behaviors are just eye-roll-worthy.

                There is a gendered aspect also, which I haven’t really brought up. There is a great Facebook meme, which is something like, “There is nothing more honest than the look two women share when a man is talking.”

                Which, #notallmen. Seriously, #notallmen. But some men, definitely.

                How to deal with boorish and pretentious people — it’s a life skill.

                “Can you believe that guy? OMG!”


              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to KenB says:

                Here, here, @kenb .

                One time I found myself thinking, “Well if I can’t make fun of this group or that group or those folks, who CAN I make fun of?”

                Then I stepped back and wondered why I felt the need to make fun of others?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Positional goods.

                Gnon is a mother.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to KenB says:

                Many people really do have to deal with people that bear them malice on a personal or impersonal level. Mocking them is one way of dealing with them in the bounds of the law and most people’s emotional capacity.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

                What part of Francis’ comment was mocking in tone? Or was this aimed at someone else?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon — Oh no one was necessarily mocking incels here. I was accused of mocking them, which is obnoxious because long ago I made a very specific choice to not. But whatever. The person who accused me is — well, not a serious person.

                That said, discussions of incels often morph into mockery. You can read my statement as a pre-emptive suggestion for the entire forum.


                That said, this definition:

                …men who are so unappealing to potential sex partners that they cannot find one.

                I think is maybe unfair. Now, many incels say this about themselves, in tones of profound dejection. But I would prefer to say, simply, that they are people who wish for intimacy, but fail to find it. This definition leaves out any judgment about how “appealing” they might be, which is a complicated topic that is hard to talk about objectively.

                Oh, and women can be incels also. You’ll find fewer women who self-identify as such, and the internet “incel culture” tends to be dude-only these days. In turn, their forums tend to be maelstroms of misogyny, racism, violent fantasies, and about every other social dysfunction you can imagine. They verbally abuse each other relentlessly.

                These are very wretched places.

                But the core idea: wants intimacy, cannot find it, years pass, a kind of deep hopelessness sets in — that happens to women also.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

                Gotcha, thanks for the clarification.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

              @densityduck — Dude, what are you even taking about? It has nothing to do with that guy at that party. So what exactly?

              I mean, there is a social pecking order in life. It sucks sometimes, particularly for those near the bottom. No doubt. Been there myself.

              But then, you know, you get out of high school, grow up a bit, find people who share your interests, and then build a social life. Just like everyone else.

              Look, I’m a weird, mildly autistic, transgender math nerd. Do you think I’m one of the “cool kids”?


              Anyway, I learned to smile at people, to look into their ocular orb units without being too creepy, and to be basically friendly. And thus I made some friends. I get invited to parties. I try not to be loud and boorish. I show interest in people. I speak, but I let them speak also.

              This isn’t rocket science. I mean, it’s not always easy for a sperg freak like me, but I deal.

              If you’re getting bullied, that sucks. I’m sorry. If you lack social skills, and thus folks don’t want you around, and if they get irritated when you are, well that’s not the same thing.

              Trying to conflate those things is simply showing a lack of personal responsibility.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                ” I’m a weird, mildly autistic, transgender math nerd. Do you think I’m one of the “cool kids”?”

                Well, you just told me about a party where you sure did seem to think you were.

                “I learned to smile at people, to look into their ocular orb units without being too creepy, and to be basically friendly.”

                What if “the guy at the party”–who, you’ll recall, you told us about–thought that’s what he was doing?

                What if someone had actually said “dude, just stop, you’re flailing” instead of eyerolling and snickering behind his back?

                “there is a social pecking order in life. It sucks sometimes, particularly for those near the bottom.”

                😀 When we say things like this about income and wealth, we get called horrible people who clearly have no empathy for the problems of the less-fortunate.

                But hey, That Guy? It’s cool to let him be a miserable, lonely dork. There’s a social pecking order, blah blah blah, and if he can’t figure it out for himself then that’s his own goddamn problem. After all, I pulled myself up by my own social bootstraps.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

                If you’re his friend, you get to tell him he kinda sucks at this. If you’re a rando acquaintance, you just give him the cold shoulder and hope he gets the hint.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kim says:

                I suspect DD is projecting his own issues onto this. Which fine. Whatever.

                Like, “loud guy at a party with his date” transforms (in DD’s mind) into “incel manchild” and “miserable lonely dork,” even though their is no reason to suppose this guy was incel or lonely, and well, he was insecure, and I suspect had some growing up to do, but “manchild” is not a term I would use.

                He was a bit of a dork, tho. You got that one right. Some people just don’t know how to behave around other people.

                Plus, now suddenly we are talking about income and wealth, except I have no idea what this dude’s net worth was, nor have I given any indication, nor do I care much. It was a “SWPL” party. I assume everyone there was kinda in a similar space, moneywise, give or take an order of magnitude. Actually, I’d bet dollars to donuts he (at the time) made more than me. Who knows. I think he was a techbro or mid-level sales or something.

                (At this time in my life, I was moderately underemployed. I’m in a better place now.)

                Anyway, blah blah blah. The endless chain of grievances that have nothing to do with what I was talking about, but that reveal much about the preoccupations of Density Duck.

                It’s like anthropology!Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                ” now suddenly we are talking about income and wealth”

                You are smarter than this, veronica. Please read the entire post instead of skimming it and picking out trigger words.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Dude, I did read your post. It was random fact-free grousing. Face it, you made incorrect assumptions about the scenario I described, and now you’re tripling-down on your wrongness.

                Stop digging.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                You told us a story. I told the same story from a different side, and it makes you look bad, so you understandably dislike it.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — There is a difference though. I was there. You were not. I was sharing the events as best I remember. You were making shit up. For example, you made up weird details about that guy’s sex life, which was pure invention.

                It comes to this: if you want to write a piece of fiction about some incel guy who gets mocked by the “cool kids,” fine, whatever. Post it. Maybe someone will want to read it.

                If you put me in your story, then you’re a fucking liar.

                You decided with certainty that the man heard us mock him and thus felt sad. But we didn’t discuss him until we were in the car. There is no way he could have heard us.

                That is kind of an important detail. But you didn’t know the facts. You didn’t bother to get the facts. You just ran your mouth. You’re still running your mouth.

                Making up bullshit about me is irresponsible and obnoxious. Cut it out.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                “Making up bullshit about me is irresponsible and obnoxious. ”

                Nothing got made up about you.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — Indeed you did. You suggested that I bullied an “incel manchild” at a party, that he definitely heard me do it, and this made him feel bad. I did no such thing.

                You said this:

                mmm-hmm, he knew damn well you were laughing at him.

                I doubt it, unless he planted a listening device in my car.

                Anyhow, everything you wrote was based on the assumption that I bully sad, nerdy guys. But I do not. You seems to want us to sympathize with sad, nerdy guys, but I already do. But this is not about them, at least not them in particular. This is about obnoxious, pushy, arrogant, loud jerky men.

                The problem is this: you are the one trying to make the bullies into the victims.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to veronica d says:

        Who do you admire more? The outwardly humble guy who can? Or the guy who cannot, but goes around acting like he can?

        Back in my Society for Creative Anachronism days, heraldry was my thing. SCA heralds do not only true heraldry, but also names. We advise people on choosing their SCA names, trying to push, pull, prod or drag them to something reasonably historical, rather than out of a bad fantasy novel or whatever is popular on TV at the moment.

        One standard phenomenon was the eager young guy who was all enthusiastic about getting into the combat side, and wanted a “Badass Slayer of Thousands” name. Trying to translate this into something like an authentic name is the least of the problems. We would gently push the guy into the realization that if he got good at the fighting, then his name would have a badass reputation because he had a badass reputation. Unspoken was that if he wan’t good, a badass name that wasn’t backed up on the field would be a running joke.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    ALF was trauma inducing pretty much through the entire run. Mostly to the actors.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Kim says:

      The ALF set was a deathtrap, apparently. They had holes cut everywhere in the floor.

      Seems like someone there should have talked to the Henson people, who know how to deal with that sort of things properly.Report

  3. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    I never watched ALF, but I looked it up to see what you were talking about, and apparently it was intended as a cliffhanger that was going to get resolved in the next season, which never happened because the show got canceled.Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David says:

    It is a good article on Ricky Jay, I probably have read it before, I but still fun. I find him, and his type of hand magic, facinating. He has writen several books on magic, con men, a beautiful photo book on the history of dice, etc. He has been a side charactor in several movies, doing the voice over in the opening of Magnolia.

    Here is a good, if old video of him:

  5. Avatar Autolukos says:

    So Trump just fired his campaign manager, which will undoubtedly usher in a new wave of stories about how Trump is totally going to pivot to the general any day now.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Autolukos says:

      What general election? He’s already been bought by Hillary.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Autolukos says:

      Isn’t this the second or third time Lewandowski has been fired?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Autolukos says:

      Possibly pivoting away from gross incompetence. Lewandowski is Adam West Batman villain bad, Menafort is Jack Bauer adversary bad.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Will Truman says:

        The man on top is still Wile E. Coyote bad, thoughReport

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman says:

        At least everybody can spend a day or two pretending that the main source of incompetence was just a campaign manager. Now that he’s gone, I’m sure they’re on the right track.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          The remaining Trump campaign’s competence is amply demonstrated by the way this dropped on Monday morningReport

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Autolukos says:

            I had thought this was a coup by Menafort. That it apparently comes from Ivanka is bad news. Not that Ivanka’s judgment is bad, but it suggests more rudderlessness because she’s not a campaign manager and it appears they will continue going without one (functionally).Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

              Ivanka has the reputation, kinda like Christie Hefner, as the one with the actual business smarts in the family that the organization respects more than the founder.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kolohe says:

                I’ve seen a few people like that (on a much smaller scale), and it was always a little less that they were “the brains” of the operation and more that they were the necessary moderating influence on an impulsive, risk loving weirdo. There are people who are in a position who, due to wealth/power/whatever can do *almost* whatever they want and come out of it pretty much OK. All they really need at that point is a person close to them to push back against their worst excesses

                Donald Trump can make stupid decisions that would ruin almost anybody else and be OK (think of the financial bridges he’s burned in the past year), but I bet Donald Trump is also capable of coming up with ideas bad enough to ruin even Donald Trump. When that happens, thank God your wife is there to say something to keep you from running the whole thing into an iceberg.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                “it was always a little less that they were “the brains” of the operation and more that they were the necessary moderating influence on an impulsive, risk loving weirdo.”

                And this person’s departure usually coincides with a rapid decline in said weirdo’s fortunes.

                Sort of like the Fame Equation.

                Wing Chun: That fame equa– oh, right, right, the point where you’ve been too famous for too long to remember how “real” people behave.

                Sarah: Right. It’s the same principle, I think — that if you’re that famous, and you’re wearing the kookoo pants, and someone tries to point out that you’re wearing the kookoo pants and they don’t look all that good on you —

                Wing Chun: — you can just replace that someone.

                Sarah: Exactly. Because, okay, Michael Jackson.

                Wing Chun: Oh, here we are again.

                Sarah: Well, yeah, I know, but — think about it. Everyone’s always like, “I can’t believe nobody ever tried to stop him,” but I’m sure various people did try to stop him, even at whatever point when it was maybe still kind of innocent — like, “MJ, the thing is, you can’t have kids in bed with you, it looks bad.”

                Wing Chun: At which time he escorted the naysayers to the gates of Neverland on zebra-back.


    • Avatar North in reply to Autolukos says:

      I’m more eyebrow raised about the spending imbalance. HRC has been deploying advertising in all the swing states in June and Trump so far hasn’t rolled out anything.Report

  6. Avatar notme says:

    AG Lynch: “Partial Transcript” Of Orlando 911 Calls Will Have References To Islamic Terrorism Removed

    Keep sweeping it under the rug, eh?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to notme says:

      Or take em at their word that they don’t want to propagate the r loser’s deranged ISIS promoting?Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to North says:

        I might almost believe it if the Obama admin didn’t have a history or downplaying Islamic terrorism.

        Here is a good example from Homeland security. “The report instructs the DHS not to use any language that might be “disrespectful” to Muslims, including (but not limited to) the words “jihad,” “sharia” and “takfir.”

        • Avatar greginak in reply to notme says:

          Would it be important if the O admin started bombing and killing islamic radicals? Maybe they should do a little bit of that since that is far more concrete then using this word or that.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to notme says:

          Yeah because we can’t drum up an endless war with all them mooslims unless we play into the ISIS brigades strategy of making this into a civilizational war. GWB, for all his manifest failings, at least understood that so it seems the right has somehow gotten dumber than GWB in the years since it seems.

          Excuse me for not being upset that the people in charge are playing to win this thing.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

            So they’re playing to lose now, since they wound up releasing the whole thing?

            This is the problem with Obama criticism. Obama criticism is generally sub-par, but Obama needs criticism. But everyone instinctively just criticizes the Obama critics, no matter how much the Obama administration needs criticism.

            (we already see this happening with Clinton, because Trump is so awful).Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

              Why, for example, are we throwing more billions at an unaccountable money pit?Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

              Of course Obama needs critics. He could use a hell of lot better critics. That isn’t exactly his fault though. Re; the transcripts, this is a tempest in a teapot. It doesn’t mean much and wasn’t’ that big of a deal unless you are among the many lousy O critics. Because we are dumping more money into Afgan because O is in league with terrorists or is afraid to attack them or won’t utter magic words or something something.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

                It’s the teapot that’s boiling over with the administration’s fight against government transparency, something that for Clinton is more than a teapot, it’s at least a stock pot.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

                Hmm you may be ladling it on a bit strong there in this case. I’d say we should keep an eye on this pot but then it will never boil. But i’m not sure that is good or bad in the metaphorical sense. We’ll just have to see how it pans out.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

                If they’re being this persnickety over penny ante BS, what other things, big things, are they not being forthcoming?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

                That is a non-sequitur. Just because they split the baby down the middle on this and then released it all in a few hours doesn’t have any bearing on to much else being secret. FWIW there is far to much that is secret, i just don’t think it has anything to do with this PR cluster. If was truly important they wouldn’t have released it any of it or given up the redacted parts. This is a PR storm.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                If they’re being this persnickety over penny ante BS, what other things, big things, are they not being forthcoming?

                Re: the Mateen transcript redactions, I (personally) place it in the same category as Hillary Clinton redacting passages of her latest book for the paperback edition. That is, the main criticism I have is that it’s just bad politics because it fosters the exact worries you’re expressing but especially because the unredacted transcripts were going to come out sooner or later (probably sooner) anyway.

                I agree Obama needs criticism. But not based on the hypothetical “what else is he not telling us?” variety.

                (Hillary is a different issue…)Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

            Apparently the administration has relented and will release the transcripts.

            I don’t think this was a tempest, but I also don’t think the scope was teapottish. It was just a strange decision given that we already knew the connection was there, already had reports of much of what was said – so redacting was simply an unwise idea with an unclear point. An unforced error for little or no gain.

            I mean, there’s some genuine mystery about the “missing 18 pages” of the 9/11 report*… we can be pretty sure that Saudi Arabia is implicated in (at best) negligence, possibly much worse – but the point there is that the information is classified and not already in the public domain; there may even be good strategic reasons why we don’t want that info public. There’s nothing commensurate in this particular instance.

            On the other hand, having just released them unedited, it was just a service fault on the first serve… second serve put it in play. No harm, no foul.

            *Mystery for us, probably not for Kim 🙂Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

              This thing struck me as a classic committee decision. Someone says release, someone says no that will just be PR for ISIS so don’t release, someone else says lets just try to split it down the middle to the joy of absolutely no one and the problems of every possible choice.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

                Yeah, where’s Ben Rhodes when you need him? Slacker.

                Personally I suspect is had more to do with Trump than ISIS, but then I can assure you I wasn’t on the committee, so what do I know?

                In a weird way, Obama gave a pretty good lecture on why “Radical Islam” is not a magic word…but the committee in trying to protect him took other words and actually tried to argue they were magic.

                As I say… just a poorly reasoned episode – groupthink or other.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Personally I suspect is had more to do with Trump than ISIS,


              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                So is it better or worse in your mind if The Most Transparent Administration in History decided to release documents with redactions in order to avoid giving an advantage to its domestic political opponents?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

                So is it better or worse in your mind if The Most Transparent Administration in History decided to release documents with redactions

                That’s bad. Uncategorical badness.

                in order to avoid giving an advantage to its domestic political opponents?

                By saying it had more to do with Trump than ISIS I was not implying that the redactions were motivated by partisan politics. My suspicion is that they weren’t (but what do I know, WHAT ELSE ARE THEY NOT TELLING US?) but rather trying to minimize anti-Muslim sentiment (add: fomented by Trump) held by parts of the US electorate.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m not sure how you separate anti-Muslim sentiment from politics. It seems inherently political, and the major parties have notably different approaches to it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

                I’m not sure how you separate anti-Muslim sentiment from politics

                Well, that settles that: Obama redacted those passages to help Hillary!

                With logic like that it’s no wonder our politics is going to shit all around us….Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                Truly, it’s a mystery how a pillar of a presidential candidate’s pitch could possibly have political relevance.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

                I just want to highlight this part of what you wrote: could possibly.

                You’re basing your negative critique of what I wrote not on a possibility, but the possibility of a possibility.

                By that logic you could negatively critique every empirical claim ever made.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, I’m basing my critique on the blindingly obvious political significance of anti-Muslim sentiment in a year in which the Republican nominee’s signature policies include a ban on Muslim immigration and deploying sarcastic mockery of the idea that people working in the Executive Branch would be unaware of its significance.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

                Well, the thing about political cynicism as an overarching exlanatory theory is that it’s irrefutable, since it fundamentally relies on actors’ inscrutable intentions.

                There are other explanations for this tho.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                If “people in government are mostly reasonably competent people trying to do good” is cynicism, I’m actually a bit scared of what optimism is in this case.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

                Then why are you so reluctant to apply that view to the Orlando transcript redactions? A good person, trying to do good, who made a mistake?

                Look, the redactions won’t help Hillary and in fact, at this point (add: which was entirely predicable) will only hurt her, either directly or indirectly (because the Obama admin looks like fools for having done it). So the cold calculation that it was done for purely partisan political gain falls into the crevasse of incompetence given that it all blew up!

                So which is the best explanation? Pure cynicism, or that ‘reasonably competent people trying to do good” sometimes do things that are politically stupid?Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                I am applying that frame. I just think that the ethical calculation that valued not giving ammunition to noxious political forces over transparency is mistaken, and that it is the manifestation of a culture within the current administration (and the government as a whole, really) that is willing to jettison transparency at the slightest pretext.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Weird. Was anything redacted other than mentions of ISIS??? If that is all it was then what is the deal. Didn’t we know he pinky swore to ISIS. Is there anything new here? IReport

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

                I can relatively easily come up with motivations for this that are benign in intent.

                I can’t come up with any that aren’t pretty dumb in terms of politics or policy.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Will Truman says:

                This is a pretty good example of when the other side makes overblown criticisms of behavior on my side that is merely bad, I’m going to defend the hell out of it just to deny them a point.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’m going for dumb and benign. Benign in an attempt to not inflame anti-muslim sentiment. If that is political, which it is, that reflects more on the anti-M then anyone else.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to greginak says:

                Dumb and benign. It’s like the meme that since mass shooters want to be remembered as badasses, we should never refer to them by their names in print, just something like “E– R–” or “that idiot from Orlando”. Which is great, but it only works if everyone out there keeps message discipline, which ain’t gonna happen.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

          The important thing is to tell the world that ISIS is all-powerful and has millions of sleeper agents in the US.Report

  7. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    Regarding moving,
    I’m not sure how much I buy the argument and causality. Transitions are part of life, aren’t they? Is avoiding them really better than not?

    I realize, of course, the article is purporting to show evidence that “yes, avoiding them really is better.” Controlling for income is a nice first step, but it isn’t as if when high-salaried professionals lose their jobs and have to move that isn’t remarkably stressful for them.

    There might be a ton of motivated reasoning behind my opinion though.Report

  8. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    In other tragic Hollywood news, actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a car wreck over the weekend. If you’ve seen any of the new Star Trek movies, he played Chekov. I also liked his turn as Odd Thomas.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      For those who can’t be bothered to click through, the twist is that he was run over by his own car after parking it on a sloped driveway. I’ve had people make fun of me for being obsessive about using the parking brake and angling into/away from the curb. Now I have cautionary tale to reference.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Like everyone else has been saying, it’s not a tragedy in the classic sense (although it might be in the modern sense). It’s not irony, since that would have required Alanis Morissette being run over instead.

      It is, however, a damn shame. He was young, in the early stages of his career. And I’m subscribed to the blogs of people who knew him, who are absolutely crushed. It’s likely that no one will feel as bad about my passing – which is a testament to him.

      Vechnaya pamyat, Anton.Report

  9. Avatar DavidTC says:

    ‘high-caliber haircuts’ is just a really dumb phrase to start with.

    High-caliber is already a pretty goofy way to describe things, but normally, it’s metaphor for things that are *machined* and *powerful*, like cars.

    Not frickin haircuts.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

      Maybe it’s about people with really big noggins.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to DavidTC says:

      You have strong opinions on a surprisingly wide range of topics.

      I feel like I’ve seen it used this way before, but I’m having trouble finding support with Google. “High caliber suit” gets 40 hits. “High caliber haircut” only gets 27 hits, and most of them use it as a euphemism for shooting someone in the head. “High caliber business” gets 10k hits, which is probably what I’m thinking of. Think of it in the same spirit as “power suit.”Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        A high caliber suit is metaphorically machined, I think…at least that’s how people talk about it.

        It’s the oddly of taking the metaphor to haircuts that struck me.Report

        • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to DavidTC says:

          From Google dictionary, 1st definition

          the quality of someone’s character or the level of someone’s ability.
          “they could ill afford to lose a man of his caliber”
          synonyms: quality, merit, distinction, stature, excellence, preeminence;

          Perhaps all the recent gun-related discussions have primed 🙂 you to interpret caliber differently.

          The proposed etymology (Arabic q?lib shoemaker’s last – by extension “mold”) does sort of suggest that the firearm version was the original substantive (caliber as a property of the bullet rather than the firearm).Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to notme says:

      This is an interesting new machine, and I think it’s indicative of where supercomputing is going. I used to work for the DOE’s supercomputing program (which always occupies several of the top 10 slots) and it has been interesting to watch the best practices evolve over the years. Some years ago, there was a transition from highly specialized IBM type hardware to more off-the-shelf Intel type hardware once the floating point / dollar performance metric reached a certain threshold, and that type of architecture has played a big role over the past decade or so, but we’re moving into a new era that is probably going to be driven more by CPUs like this one.

      Modern “supercomputers” are just huge clusters of small processors (not one or two really crazy Star Trek type CPUs), so the problems that run on them must be highly parallel. It makes sense that once you’re pushing the limit of what hardware is available, you start going for processors that offer lots more simple cores instead of continuing with relatively few cores per chip, because the problem you’re solving can take advantage of as many separate threads of operation as you can offer it. An Intel server processor with a dozen cores is an architectural masterpiece, but the type of work a database server does is not the same as the type of work a physics simulation does. A CPU with more simple cores rather than fewer fancy cores is generally the right call (see the number of people using graphics processors for general computing work as an example of that in action).

      The fact that it’s developed in China is almost certainly partially a result of our idiotic tech trade policies and partially the fact that large governments with serious military / intelligence operations hate to depend on anybody else’s parts for their secret stuff. Given that they had a mandate to design their own chip, it makes sense that they’d design one that supports the supercomputing mission well.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        More protein folding for all!Report

      • A CPU with more simple cores rather than fewer fancy cores is generally the right call

        More or less the RISC principle (or the RAID principle.)Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          I still liked that “wide instruction set” thing, where the pipelines were super-utterly simple and you let the compiler figure out how to optimize the CPU parallelism. That sounded like some fun compiler shit to work on.

          (I don’t really know shit about contemporary CPU tech. I’m more of a head-in-the-clouds math chick these days, thinking about a pristine realm of pure numbers.)Report

          • Like UCDavis’s 1,000 cores on a chip recent announcement?Report

          • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

            (old fart here – I worked on CPU architecture for various military processors ca 1988-1993, which time period covered the crash and burn of the first generation commercial VLIWs like Multiflow and Cydrome; some of the key brains behind those companies respawned at HP and Intel to give rise to the CF that was Itanium. The only multi-issue CPU we ever finished was just dual issue – sort of a cross between an Intel i860 and some of the early DSP chips. Porting gcc to that beast was indeed the shit in every possible sense of the word)

            In terms of compiler shit, I think you’re mostly referring to trace scheduling, e.g. Fischer and progeny. (If not, what compiler tech more specifically are you referring to?). Remember that those people were aiming at minisuper style scientific computing with baby Cray uniform latency memory systems (no D-caches), and much/most of the emphasis in instruction set design was trying to hide the memory latency.

            I would not call the pipelines in those VLIWs “simple”. I’m not even sure I would call them any simpler than a classic Tomasulo-style superscalar machine (which, hiding a whole lot of details, is more or less how x86s from the Pentium on, and the more recent high end ARMs in your smartphones, do their multiple instruction issue).Report

            • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to scott the mediocre says:

              Oh, and another problem with trace scheduled VLIW in the commercial realm is that you have to recompile from source to get your code to run (well) on a different instantiation of the same family (e.g. code compiled for the small model Multiflow would run correctly on the bigger model, but with almost no speedup). Presumably that could be solved by the software vendor distributing the compiled applications in some sort of intermediate form (the intermediate form you need to efficiently schedule for a VLIW is fairly complex, mostly because you have to carry a lot of information about potential memory aliases).Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to scott the mediocre says:

              @scott-the-mediocre — Yeah, it was the Itanium I was thinking of. And you obviously know way-way-way more about this stuff than I do.

              Anyway, like most girls, I just want to factor huge matrices in peace 🙂Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d says:

                Oh and now I have to go Google “trace scheduling.”

                You just nerd-sniped me.Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

                Oops – sorry about the nerd-sniping. I’ll try to make it up to you somehow. Suggestions on expiatory mechanisms are welcome.Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

                And you obviously know way-way-way more about this stuff than I do.

                Statistically it was bound to happen eventually that you would mention a topic that I know something about. Unlikely to happen again.

                I assume that you’re trying to either to factor large sparse matrices or nonnegative factorization, since otherwise is there that much to be gained on today’s hardware versus the various canonical methods with cache-aware blocking? Is blocking for two or even three level caches a Thing in numerical programming these days? Seems like it ought to be, but back in our day we mostly had single level caches (and we were grateful to have those :).

                For one last bit of old fart lore (that I personally never had to deal with), did you know that on a Cray-1, multiplication was significantly not commutative (let alone behaving like IEEE model numbers for rounding and the like)? I can only imagine what error and convergence analysis must have been like – truly they were nerdly giants in those days.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to scott the mediocre says:

                Oh, these days you mostly just install Lapack and some BLAS optimized for your hardware. Behind that there is some army supersmart geeks who spend their time thinking about strides and caches and memory layout and such.

                Which is a funny story, speaking of which. One day I wanted to install Lapack on my Macbook Air, cuz who knows when you’re gonna want to compute an eigenvector at the coffee shop. Anyhow, so I’m using one of those apt-get-alike things on OS-X (I think it was macports), and I go ahead install some BLAS that is supposed to be super optimized.

                But it’s like a freaking Macbook Air. I don’t really care. It was just a BLAS other than the not-optimized-at-all one that comes built in to Lapack.

                But the funny thing is, this didn’t have a binary install. Instead, it compiles from source. It does it automagically, behind the scenes, so you don’t need to care. Except, it wants to optimize for your machine. So it keeps recompiling with different options and running huge benchmarks until it finds a good combo.

                Anyhow so I don’t know it does this. I’m just letting the installer plug away while I browse some websites.

                The laptop’s fan comes on. It starts getting — well — a bit uncomfortably warm in my lap. My web browser becomes sluggish.

                It’s like, I’m not modeling the Earth’s climate here people. I just want some basic linear algebra.

                Anyhow, twelve hours later I had a nice little BLAS installed on my Macbook Air. And a cat curled up beside my laptop.

                I want to install Julia someday, but I’m afraid.

                (At work all this stuff is already figured out and baked into our build environments, so I don’t have to care about it. On the other hand, everything here is so utterly hyper-distributed to the nth degree that if you even suggest running some problem on a single core they laugh at you and make you eat lunch alone.)

                My employer actually got famous for computing the principal eigenvector of a very, very, very, very large, very sparse matrix using the power iteration method, but distributed across a huge number of cores. (That’s a clue.)


              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

                It starts getting — well — a bit uncomfortably warm in my lap. My web browser becomes sluggish.

                Hmm, “web browser” is certainly an interesting euphemism for redacted.Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

                Oh, these days you mostly just install Lapack and some BLAS optimized for your hardware. Behind that there is some army supersmart geeks who spend their time thinking about strides and caches and memory layout and such

                According to the website, there is a Level 3 BLAS tuned for single processors with caches, but at least the name implies that it’s not multicore aware (which would involve things like optimizing the cache blocking for the different bits of the memory hierarchy, making use of processor affinity scheduling, …).

                OTOH, there’s also cuBLAS (BLAS on CUDA) and CUSP, the finer points of which I’m not familiar with, but which a priori seems like it would be a killer if your hardware supports it.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to scott the mediocre says:

                Right. I don’t even try to keep up with that stuff. Like, they have things running on GPUs and who knows what else. There is just so much, you kinda need to find your little place and get really good at that.

                Mostly in my day job, I deal with discrete, combinatorial problems — like with airline stuff, either the fare matches the records the airline provided me, or it does not. My stuff is more about heuristics and tree pruning and trying to deal with the fact that an airline “pricing solution” is one of 9.9*10^99.9 possibilities, cuz you never know. It might just be cheaper to change planes in Guam or something. But maybe that only works if you get this one fare that was only filed on Thursday, then canceled six hours later, except it turns out that fare cannot be combined with the other fares, cuz some byzantine set of rules filed by the one Malaysian airline who happens to have a connecting flight that day. In other words, just cuz two solutions are “near” in search space means nothing.

                So, just evaluating airline pricing rules is somewhere in the ugly parts of NP. Which, in practice it never gets that bad, but you just never know when the airlines are going to pump out some weird combination of data, so it’s always multiple levels of heuristics.

                I mean, I’d like to be doing more numerics. In my mind I think geometry. I wanna be in a “space.” I want subgradients and “second order curvature” and so on.

                Maybe one day. Lot’s of opportunities around here.

                I have this thing where, I wanna get really good at non-smooth optimization, like subgradient bundle methods and stuff like that. That looks like fun. I read a lot about it. I like optimization theory. It makes me happy.

                I’m really more math than computer these days. One grows old and begins to dream of higher things.

                Anyway, at work, it seems like most of our “big giant vectors” stuff gets pumped through non-linear neural nets and tensorflow or whatever. Like, it’s all huge-astronomical-you-can’t-imagine dimensional problems, highly distributed, and everything is just first-order gradient descent or whatevs. But anyway, our build tools have like everything right there, and there are plenty of folks you can ask — the benefits of working in a very big shop with really great tools (and tons and tons and tons of CPU).

                It’s such a different world. I used to know what ever single chip in my Apple ][ did. I could disassemble the code in ROM and figure it out. If the computer crapped out, I’d take it to the shop and tell the guy, “That chip there burned out,” and he’d replace it. Three times out of five I was correct.

                I mean, I can kinda-sorta read the assembler my Lisp compiler [*] puts out, which sometimes we look at when trying to hyper-optimize some inner loop. But not really. If you took from me my compiler, I’d basically die. I don’t think I’ve looked at any not-by-me dissassembly in pretty much forever.

                I don’t remember the last time I actually opened up a computer. I assume they still have chips. 🙂

                (I’m exaggerating, a little bit.)

                I remember trying to convince my dad to get me a Commodore Amiga. I was like, “It’s 16 bit! It’s a whole big, giant new world!”


                Anyway, kids today.

                [*] Yes I’m actually a professional Lisp programmer. In 2016. Can you imagine!Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

                Well, if you’re a Lisp programmer, my experience implies (with apologies to Oscar Wilde) that you know the value of everything but the [runtime] cost of nothing 🙂

                It seems that Lisp types have or get into a very different headspace than ordinary mortals, so you have even more respect/awe/extreme wariness from me than before: I had a prof in the early 80s who would write system utilities like directory formatters in Lisp.

                My Lisp experience was limited to learning just enough to make a Symbolics 3600 load what I wanted into a Connection Machine (the only front end for the CM-2 was the Symbolics, and while there was a parallel C for the CM-2, if you needed access to the CM-2 assembly language aka Paris, you had to write the entire $%@$% CM program in their funky parallel Lisp. Or, you basically wrote in your personal favorite SIMD paradigm, hand-compiled it to Paris, and put a thin Lisp wrapper around it. ^%^#^&$%^& Danny Hillis was the Donald Trump of parallel computing)Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to scott the mediocre says:


                Hey! I didn’t say I was a Scheme programmer!

                Tee hee.

                But seriously, the shop I work for is kinda famous for being the folks who figured out how to hyper-optimize Lisp. The truth is, our core I/O stuff is done in C++, for obvious reasons. (But it’s C++ written by lispies, which means, um, well you know how clever people can do obnoxious things with C++ template expansion, and you know how lispies like to use macros for metaprogramming, and well…

                The horror.)

                Anyway yeah, Lisp can be a hog, but it also lets you control memory layout at whatever precision you wish, and the macro faculties let you build some pretty well-optimized primitives from the ground up, so we make it work. It takes efforts. What results doesn’t look like the pretty “pure logic” Lisp you see in the textbooks. But still! A problem this complicated benefited greatly from being in Lisp.

                If I were starting from scratch, I would use OCaml or something, and a lot more of a declarative style. Like, I would have done a general “translate the airline rules into a metalanguage, and then write a compiler for that metalanguage, and then write a compiler for the real-time airline data, and then write an optimizer which matches heuristics between the rules and statistical models of the data, and so on. But we have waaaaaay more CPU these days, and I have more of an FP/LP background than the folks who first built this mind-boggling bucket of bolts. Anyhow.

                We outperform our competition by many factors.

                Of course, we are competing with the engineers that airlines hire — often as “consultants.” They like Enterprise Java and shit. It’s not a fair fight.Report

              • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to veronica d says:

                I didn’t even bother to make a weak joke that you probably prefer singular value decomposition, having expected Mike Schilling to make a much better and more mathcoreful joke.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to scott the mediocre says:

                You know, now that you mention it, high performance numerical computing really does need more good double entendres. I cannot think of a single one.

                Hey @mike-schilling , this is indeed your chance to shine.Report

              • There must be something that someone can do using the positive and negative indefinite values from the old CDC days…Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to notme says:

      “There is no U.S.-made system that comes close to the performance of China’s new system, the Sunway TaihuLight”

      This is like The World’s Tallest Building. It’s not actually that hard, when you get down to it, to build a tall building. It’s a worthy engineering achievement but not something impossible for any society advanced beyond half-timber and bricks. Similarly, it’s always going to be possible to chain a bunch of processors together and say “hey check it out, we built The World’s Biggest Supercomputer”.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to DensityDuck says:

        The World’s Biggest Supercomputer

        Given the proliferation of cpu/gpu chipsets deployed in parallel wouldn’t it be closer to say the “World’s Widest Supercomputer”Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to DensityDuck says:

        This is spot on. The “worlds biggest supercomputer” is a project that is roadmapped several years in advance and a few large programs take turns leapfrogging each other for #1. And usually the new #1 is substantially more powerful than the #2 it surpassed, not because it’s magic alien technology but because it uses more chips and newer chips than the last one. The world’s fastest machine is already scheduled to be surprassed before the first rack of it is ever powered up.

        Nothing in this new machine is really a dramatic departure from the current trend–just more of the same going harder in the same direction, which is exactly what you’d expect. The interesting part is the departure from US-built CPUs, but that’s not super shocking either. It’s a lot easier to design a CPU with a lot of simple cores than it is to design a more complex, feature rich CPU with fewer cores that handles a more general workload. It’s also not really an indicator “dominance” in a particular field either. Even the biggest supercomputer projects buy only a small fraction of the CPUs Intel or AMD manufacture. It’s not really in their best interests to retool to support supercomputing efforts when Intel’s bread and butter is making server chips and AMD’s is making desktop chips.

        We’re just reaching the end of the era of commodity server processors offering the best bang for the buck at giant physics simulations, and that’s OK.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          Oh, given how few customers we have that use something other than an Intel powered cluster, I’d say that era ended some time ago.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

          It’s like, I have literally no idea what CPU’s my employer is using these days for our servers. We buy a lot of them, so I suppose they must be cheap. We pack ’em close together, so I figure getting cool air in and hot air out is half the battle. Plus the power bill. But I dunno.

          Getting enough of the CPUs talking to each other in a not-preposterously-inefficient way seems the hard part.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to veronica d says:

            You’re right about that. Interconnect is often the really fancy part of the tippy top machines (once again, depending on workload). Both the hardware/software stack and the topology are problems that depend on what you’re trying to achieve and how much you can spend. Some workloads care about latency a lot more than others. You see a some systems that are perfectly happy being flat wads of gigabit ethernet while the top end systems are often very fancy low-latency links with clevertopologies.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to notme says:

      Some of the more detailed results suggest that the machine was partially optimized for the particular test used in the rankings (LINPACK). In at least one other benchmark, that involves lots of memory and memory bandwidth, the new machine isn’t as good as some of the older machines. The processing/watt measurement is also boosted by having much less memory per processor than some of the older machines.

      TTBOMK, for us mere mortals using commercial machines, the old adage about “Computer seems slow? Try doubling the RAM,” is still relevant.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to notme says:

      Speculation is that the Chinese chips were fabbed using 28 nm rules. Intel and Samsung’s leading edge fabs are 14 nm. I stand by my prediction from more than a decade ago that Rock’s Law wins, and no private firm goes below 10 nm. The Chinese government might eventually go to 8 nm because they can throw almost unlimited amounts of money at the entire development supply chain. If Beijing asks my advice, I’ll tell them that doing so is a waste.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Michael Cain says:

        My experience in the industry is a decade old, but you could see 14nm over the horizon (okay, that’s a mixed metaphor) even then. There must be a reason that there hasn’t been a stampede to, and past, that point – and that reason is that returns are already diminishing by there.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

          The reason is called “physics” and it is being really unreasonable.

          Mostly, it’s just being incredibly difficult about things, and so people are going “Screw you, physics, we’ll just figure out something else that you’ve already okayed and made easy. Maybe later we’ll try to figure out some way to finesse your stupid home brew system to get what we want. “Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    “From this perspective, ModCloth’s advocacy for H.R. 4445 might be a little self-serving. If the legislation passed, it would put the already-transparent company at an advantage relative to more traditional retailers that still rely on photo manipulation in their advertising. Many American heritage brands take a similar tack when they call for made in the USA production, effectively arguing that their own business strategies should become normative standards for all businesses. That’s not to say Koger and co.’s stance is disingenuous, but it’s clear that it is certainly convenient, since it’s also a literal selling point for the company.”Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      People like looking at attractive people. Most of what is considered attractive is fairly universal. There are people with different opinions or preferences for one trait over another like preferring blonde hair to brown hair or dark eyes to light eyes but you can get fairly accurate version of what is considered attractive from asking people on the street. That makes the drive for putting a wider variety of appearances in ads or preventing photo-copying really strange.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        People like looking at symmetric people who don’t stink or look obviously diseased. That’s about it.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Kim says:

          There’s a reason why, when you morph a number of photos into a single aggregate, the aggregate will usually be rated by viewers as more attractive than any of the components. It is more symmetric than any of them, and weird features that might be interpreted as pockmarks or other signs of disease tend to be averaged out.

          And, despite evolutionary psychology being basically just another form of woo, there seems to be something to the idea that waist-to-hip ratio is a thing. We just don’t know why.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to El Muneco says:

            You know, I have a number of friends, including my ex-wife, who claim that they don’t really prioritize looks in choosing partners. Which okay, maybe you’re thinking they’re full of shit. But no, I’ve known them for years, and indeed they seem to pick a variety of different partners with very different body types, different facial structures, and (to be blunt) different levels of conventional attractiveness.

            I mean, fat people, thin people, people with super-symmetrical faces, people without. A variety. For real. I’ve seen.

            I envy them a little. The fact is, among the variety of folks they hook up with, many are don’t attract me. Some, however, attract me quite a lot.

            They have fuller lives than I have. This is a reflection of their character.

            The point is, I know big fat neckbeard guys with cute girlfriends — cute enough that I find myself wishing that the gals were 1) into poly and 2) into trans gals. (For all I know, some of them are. I’m too shy to even imagine daring to ask.)

            Looks schmooks.

            Obviously it is easier for HAWT folks. Like, duh.

            For example, my response to the horns/halo thing is to be as pretty as I possibly can. I recommend you do the same. If you’re a dude, lift weights or something. Find what works for you. Whatever.

            When it comes to sex and romance, looks ain’t my problem. Neither is being trans — although that makes it waaaaaaaaay harder. Obviously. But still, there are people who date trans folks. I don’t need everyone to like me. (That would be pretty inconvenient, actually.) My point is, my problems are inside-me problems, not outside-me problems.


            Anyway, today is a new day. Perhaps I’ll meet some lovely human on the train and by some miracle I won’t be pathetically shy. As if!Report

  11. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    Dr. Aaron Carroll has a recent video about the moving study.

  12. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Am I the only one not pre-rolling their Bard’s Tale 4 character in their head?

    I can’t tell if I’m excited or mortified that they have exciting plans for music… and I say this as the guy who always plays a Bard.

    I wish I could say I’m hopeful, but somehow the various reboots just haven’t been sufficiently innovative to get me past the first couple of hours. I’m not nostalgic. (I’m stupid because I’ll give them $10-$20 to remind myself that I’m not nostalgic, but that’s a different issue).Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Marchmaine says:

      The “Pirates!” and “Wasteland” reboots ended up, at best, filling the same role the original had to our much younger selves. “DOOM” and “Shadow Warrior” have transitioned, and are fine games, but seem to have lost a certain something. Glossop’s new project might get the brass ring, but it is using XCOM as a springboard rather than a reboot, and in any case we don’t need to discuss it until 2018.

      Unfortunately, I think you can’t go back again. I played BT3 a lot in its time, and I might do again with the reboot, but the history of reboots doesn’t make me optimistic.Report

  13. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Donald Trump has less COH than in a competitive mid-tier House race –

    • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      This is starting to get disconcerting. If he keeps screwing up this bad the GOP might actually gin up the testicular fortitude to unbind their delegates and dump him at the convention and then who knows what will happen. FFS Donny, just hold it together until the convention and then you can fail and flail miserably.Report